Swiss unemployment increased in May to the highest level since 2010, indicating that the economy remains vulnerable to the strong franc.
The jobless rate, adjusted for seasonal swings, rose to 3.2 per cent from 3.1 per cent in April, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern said in an e-mailed statement today. That’s in line with the median estimate of 10 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The unadjusted jobless rate fell to 3 per cent from 3.2 per cent.
Consumer demand has boosted the Swiss economy, helping it to expand 0.6 per cent in first quarter, growing faster than in neighbouring Germany. Rising unemployment could crimp consumer spending and thereby hinder growth. The cap of 1.20 per euro on the franc set by the Swiss National Bank in September 2011 has also helped Switzerland to escape the slump that has befallen the 17-nation euro area.
SNB President Thomas Jordan said in an interview published on June 2 that the franc remained strong, even though financial market stress was waning.
The number of job openings in the country fell by 1,327 to 14,808 in May, today’s report showed. A total of 185,012 people were looking for a job, 5,355 fewer than in the previous month.